Effects of multisensory stop signals on alcohol-induced disinhibition in adults with ADHD

Alexandra R. D'Agostino, Michael J. Wesley, Jaime Brown, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Multisensory environments facilitate behavioral functioning in humans. The redundant signal effect (RSE) refers to the observation that individuals respond more quickly to stimuli when information is presented as multisensory, redundant stimuli (e.g., aurally and visually) rather than as a single stimulus presented to either modality alone. RSE appears to be because of specialized multisensory neurons in the superior colliculus and association cortex that allow intersensory coactivation between the visual and auditory channels. Our studies show that the disinhibiting effects of alcohol are attenuated when stop signals are multisensory (e.g., Visual + Auditory stop signals) versus unisensory (Roberts, Monem, & Fillmore, 2016). The present study expanded on this research to test the degree to which multisensory stop signals could also attenuate the disinhibiting effects of alcohol in those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a clinical population characterized by poor impulse control. The study compared young adults with ADHD (n = 22) with healthy controls (n = 22) and examined the acute impairing effect of alcohol on response inhibition to stop signals that were presented as a unisensory (visual) stimulus or a multisensory (Visual + Auditory) stimulus. For controls, results showed alcohol impaired response inhibition to unisensory stop signals but not to multisensory stop signals. Response inhibition of those with ADHD was impaired by alcohol regardless of whether stop signals were unisensory or multisensory. The failure of multisensory stimuli to attenuate alcohol impairment in those with ADHD highlights a specific vulnerability that could account for heightened sensitivity to the disruptive effects of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.


  • ADHD
  • Alcohol
  • Disinhibition
  • Multisensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of multisensory stop signals on alcohol-induced disinhibition in adults with ADHD'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this